ASTRA Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health

Aug 27 2014

Thirty Five Albanian all-party parliamentary group members attended a round table on an alternative report on SRHR in the country. ACPD, the Albanian APPG Secretariat and ASTRA member, drafted the report and organised the meeting, which was also attended by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Welfare and Youth, Institute of Public Health and NGOs. Member of Parliament, Valentina Leskaj had encouraged Albanian Center for Population and Development to initiate the compilation of the report and also contributed to setting out the main structure of the report. The report addresses many aspects of SRHR, including the relatively high rates of maternal and infant mortality. Only 11% of sexually active women who wish to avoid pregnancy use modern means of contraception, contributing to high rates of abortion.

Source: European Parliamentary Forum

Aug 12 2014

The UN Secretary-General's index report is now available on the United Nations Official Documents with symbol number A/69/122. It summarizes discussions and proceedings from this year’s meeting of the Commission on Population and Development and forms one of the background documents for the UNGASS on ICPD in September.

Aug 06 2014

Global Doctors for Choice sent  a letter to the Polish Minister of Health Bartosz Arłukowicz and Maciej Hamankiewicz, the President of the Main Physicians' Council expressing concern with references to the so-called Declaration of Faith of Polish medical personnel. The organization included a set of recommendations on how to exercice conscientious objection without violating patients' right to care and dignity. The letter can be found here.

Aug 04 2014

The English version of Federation for Women and Family Planning (Poland) report summarizing 20 years of Poland's strict anti-abortion law is now available. It covers legal aspects and analysis of implementation of the provisions on abortion access, availability of birth control and sexuality education as well as reproductive rights and relevant cases and processes happening in the framework of human rights.

Access it HERE. 

Jul 30 2014

The anti-choice movement, which is on a constant rise  in Poland, is currently acting against sexuality education in Poland. The Committee for Legislative Initiative ‘Stop Pedophilia’ aims to, according to its leaders, ‘protect children from depravation of so-called sex educators’. 

The Committee convinces that Poland is threatened by gender ideology and depraving sexuality education provided with the use of WHO document ‘Standards of sexuality education in Europe’, which was published in Polish last year. The organizers of the campaign claim that the standards give only technical information on sex and contain instructions on teaching children how to masturbate, hence the Polish government shouldn’t support the model of sexuality education proposed in the WHO document. What’s more, the campaign attacks non-profit organizations providing sexuality education by accusing educators of sexualizing children and promoting pedophilia. The Committee also spreads homophobic messages relating to sexuality education, claiming that sex educators ‘promote homosexuality’ and tend to encourage children to try different kinds of sexuality orientations and relationships. Homosexuality is also treated on the same grounds as pedophilia – in some Polish cities there are banners of the campaign with information that LGBT people rape their children. 

The legislative proposal prepared as part of  ‘Stop Pedophilia’ campaign would extend the article 200 of Polish Criminal Code (regarding the age of consent) with the two paragraphs: persons publicly promoting or approving activities of pedophilic nature would be punished with amercement, restriction of liberty or imprisonment. The same punishment would apply to persons who publicly popularize sexual activity of adolescents below the age of consent or enable them means to do so. According to leaders of the initiative, sexuality education proposed by WHO and provided by non-profit organizations is actually encouraging children to have sex. Polish NGOs working for comprehensive sexuality education are mentioned in the justification of  the initiative as the threat to children’s development. 

The project collected 250 thousand signatures and it was proposed to Polish parliament as citizens legislative initiative. It’s predicted that the first reading of the project will take place in September. The campaign has been criticized in media by academics and activists as homophobic and distorting the real role of sexuality education.

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily (Polish only)

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